Category: Opinions

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OLPC XO-3 to make ARM Powered Tablets happen at $75

Posted by Charbax – December 22, 2009

OLPC designer Yves Behar is showing the XO-3 design over at http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/22/tablet-computer-negroponte-technology-cio-network-olpc.html

One Laptop Per Child XO-3 design

Imagine an ARM Powered Tablet computer with the 10.1" Pixel Qi screen, where the screen uses plastics instead of glass to be very resistive. Imagine low enough battery usage in transflective mode to power the device for 40 hours even though the less than 1cm in thickness of the Tablet does not allow for much space for the batteries. Imagine a fully optimized use of the Pixel Qi screens reflective abilities where the screen only needs to refresh at the speed of 1hz when in e-reader mode when nothing moves on the screen, with the processor and motherboard also completely shut off and standby to save power when they are not required. But where screen refresh rate and the processor and motherboard can instantly be turned on as soon as they are needed again.

Imagine wireless data technologies based on White Spaces, for free unlimited wireless broadband on the 700mhz spectrum, WiFi Mesh networking and maybe even low power Bluetooth built-in.

OLPC XO-3 tablet concept design

Imagine a touch screen technology which would allow for very responsive touchscreen interfaces to accommodate reading, web browsing, typing and playing of games. Yet where the touch screen functions on a plastic screen that is scratch resistant.

One Laptop Per Child OLPC XO3 games

All that for $75 and to be released within two years. Those are the latest plans from the OLPC organization, the same people that invented the Netbook industry as I wrote in http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/impact/olpc_netbook_impact_on_laptop.html

olpc xo-3

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Cherrypal may have been watching my videos, launches products I reviewed last month

Posted by Charbax – December 17, 2009

Menq EasyPC E790

http://www.cherrypal.com/products.php just did a big splash on the blogosphere (engadget, gizmodo etc) about them launching the Menq EasyPC E790 rebranded Cherrypal Africa to the US market for just $99. I filmed this model made by Menq here last month: http://armdevices.net/2009/11/12/80-android-laptop-menq-easypc-e790/

I would be really proud and happy if distributors and brands such as Cherrypal are approaching the manufacturers of the best products that I film, this would really be a nice success criteria for my video-blogging work. It is my goal to highlight interesting new products when I find them at consumer electronics trade shows and when I get review samples and to try and get those videos to do the rounds of the big blogs when the content of my videos are original and interesting enough.

It is really great to see the Menq EasyPC E790 for sale in the US market branded Cherrypal Africa so soon after my video. If this helps speeding up the availability of an Android firmware onto the laptop, then that would be even better!

Funny as well, at the same time, Cherrypal is launching the Optima OP5-W rebranded Cherrypal Bing for just $389 as well which I filmed a couple of weeks ago as well at http://techvideoblog.com/reviews/optima-op5-w-350-121-laptop-for-ubuntu-or-windows-xp/ ! This seems to me that it is likely that Cherrypal is a fan of my video productions. Leading them to take concrete actions in contacting the manufacturers of the products that I highlight and negociate immediate orders of large quantities of those products.

I look forward to my videos influencing more distributors in the coming weeks. Look forward to my extensive video coverage of all the best ARM powered devices from January 7th to 10th at the CES Consumer Electronics Show!

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The blogosphere reports my Nexus One pricing speculation as rumor

Posted by Charbax – December 16, 2009

Several blogs have been reporting my speculation on Nexus One pricing as a rumor. Which is okay, but I am only freely thinking what to expect Google will do about the pricing. What I think Google should do. I don't have secret infos from Google insiders, at least not yet. Although I am sure Google insiders are monitoring what the blogosphere is talking about so if they see a lot of people getting excited about disruptive pricing and VOIP features, then it could well encourage them to actually really make the big announcements and make it happen at the launch.

My speculation is based on following:

1. Manufacture and Bill of Material of a 3.7" AMOLED touch screen smartphone has been calculated by isupply and others to cost below $150 all inclusive when mass manufactured. Although an AMOLED WVGA screen is probably a bit more expensive than a 3.5" 480x320 LCD screen. Manufacturers and resellers make very high profit margins when they sell unlocked smartphones at $400-500, and I think, those prices are only a deterrent to unlocked phones and to push consumers into signing $2500 2-year contracts for getting those phones.

2. My speculation is that when Google will be selling its own phone (even manufactured by HTC or other Smartphone manufacturers in Asia), my speculation is that Google does not need to profit on the hardware, but plans to profit over time on mobile ads and services.

3. Google does not own spectrum, yet my basic suggestion is that Google may be able to approach telecom carriers internationally and offer to buy Petabytes of bandwidth on 3G networks, at a given rate per GB, and my speculation is that 3G bandwidth data should definitely cost less than $10 or 5€ per GB. If Google is able to purchase 1 Petabyte of 3G data from a telecom carrier for $10 per GB, guaranteed best effort bandwidth not throttled for VOIP, then what would stop Google from offering 100MB free bandwidth per month to users of unlocked Android phones, to use for basically as much VOIP over 3G using Google Voice, Gmail, basic Gmaps and basic Web browsing as most users would need. Thus get an unlocked Android phone with a Google SIM card and get unlimited free VOIP and 100mb/month data for free on ad-supported Google services or purchase more data for a certain price for example $10 per GB to use whenever you want, not needed to be renewed each month. I am probably far over-estimating the cost of 3G data bandwidth, the price per GB is probably below 1€ per GB, unless telecom carriers just refuse the deal and that they wouldn't accept to sell any 3G cellular bandwidth to Google.

I have been campaigning for free VOIP on WiFi and 3G for years, since I have been very active fanboy of all Archos Internet Tablets since the Archos PMA400 released in 2004 on my other site http://archosfans.com, where my hope has always been to some day have better telecom system that doesn't try to sell you a $2500 2-year contract with a $150 smartphone. But instead move towards improving the smart device, implement better optimized software through Linux (Android enables that for the first time), larger higher resolution screens (4.8" 800x480 like Archos 5 Internet Tablet is my favorite size and resolution), and also some day, make it possible for people to just buy the bandwidth that they need and not charge unreasonable prices anymore for voice and sms services.

Here are some of the sites that have been posting my speculation over the past couple of days:

http://www.androidguys.com/2009/12/14/reuters-nexus-one-available-directly-through-google-website-january-5/

http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-phone-price-details-cdma-version-may-follow/

http://news.softpedia.com/news/More-HTC-Nexus-One-Details-Availability-Pricing-Boot-Animation-129741.shtml

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/62660/google-phone-rumor-roundup-fcc-approval-pricing-and-availability/

http://www.product-reviews.net/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-pricing-details/

http://androidandme.com/2009/12/news/android-rumor-report-nexus-one-to-cost-199/

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=1517

http://www.i4u.com/article29235.html

http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2009/12/google_nexus_one_to_cost_199.html

http://www.slashgear.com/peek-ceo-gets-google-nexus-one-hands-on-price-speculation-increases-1666131/

http://www.geardiary.com/2009/12/16/nexus-one-google-phone-pricing-rumors-round-up/

http://www.mobilemag.com/2009/12/15/google-to-sell-nexus-one-unlocked-for-199/

http://pixelatedgeek.com/2009/12/more-google-phone-rumors-grain-of-salt/

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/aexhb/google_phone_199_without_contract99_for_google/ (1088+ comments!)

http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/2009/12/15/google-nexus-one-phone-price-details-cdma-version-may-follow/

http://www.hackchasers.com/news/nexus-one-le-5-janvier-2010-date-de-lancement/

http://richard.gluga.com/2009/12/googles-nexus-one-with-free-data.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/14/AR2009121403454.html

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More of my speculation on Google Phone Nexus One hardware and services pricing

Posted by Charbax – December 14, 2009

EDIT: Google has not confirmed any pricing for the Google Phone Nexus One. You can read my latest post backing up my speculations on what I expect Google will price it, what I think Google should price it: http://armdevices.net/2009/12/16/the-blogosphere-reports-my-nexus-one-pricing-speculation-as-fact/

As I have been posting in comments on mediamemo.allthingsd.com, gizmodo.com and androidguys.com, I enjoy speculating about features and prices of phones and business models. So let me post here the prices that I expect this first Google Phone to be sold at and some of what I expect of its hardware specifications:

- $200 sold through all retailers, Best Buy, Amazon, Wal Mart and any others. Unlocked, for use on any network, but I think it may come with a so-called Google SIM card (read further below)

- Google may provide a subsidy up to $100 for long-time and very active Google users. So if you buy it online using your Google Account, they may provide you with an instant rebate. If you buy it for $200 in retail stores, Google can still provide you the online $100 rebate to use on the Google Android Marketplace, on Google Checkout stores or even on extra data for your Google SIM card (read futher below).

- My speculation is that Google may provide up to 100mb of free data usage per month to all Android users with a Google SIM card (read futher below). The 100mb per month would be enough for as much Google Voice, Gmail, Gtalk, and basic web browsing that most people need (disabling bandwidth intensive things such as images can easily be setup). No contracts needed for those 100mb per month, but those may only work for use on Google services, for low bandwidth Android apps or for basic web browsing. In any ways, there would be a bandwidth usage counter clearly displayed at the top of the Android user interface next to the battery meter. The free 100mb per month may be throttled and may sometimes be limited to GPRS type of speeds.

- Extra bandwidth could be purchased in one click, such as I expect 1GB for $10 or 5€ is possible. That extra GB of bandwidth would be usable at any point in time and not need to be renewed every month.

- A monthly $30 or 20€ bandwidth package would provide up to 5GB in the USA or 10GB in Europe per month of unrestricted and full speed 3G bandwidth usage.

- Thus the overall Bill Of Material and Manufacturing costs for a Google Nexus One is probably below $150, so Google can very likely sell it below $200 with 8GB built-in storage and with MicroSD for storage expansion. Google doesn't look for making profits on hardware, they will make their profits on ads over the several months or several years that the hardware is being used.

The Google SIM card speculation:

- All those bandwidth speculations would work using the Google SIM card on any unlocked Android phone. Though since the Nexus One would be unlocked, any other SIM card could be used as well. And thus, competitors or telecom carriers themselves can provide SIM cards with pre-paid, with or without subscriptions for other packages of data usage. I think Google would allow Microsoft and others to take part in financing those free 100mb per month so users would be able to use competing online services and VOIP providers for free as well.

The calculation and speculation for a worldwide Google SIM card bandwidth service should thus be based on trying to not only guess if carriers will allow Google to turn them into dumb pipes of bandwidth, on the other hand, we should try to guess what price Google may pay to buy 3G data bandwidth in bulk from the carriers and thus at what price Google may sell it back to Android users without the need of monthly data subscriptions. My guess is that $10 per GB in the USA and 5€ per GB in Europe should be more than enough payment for the 3G data bandwidth. And that most likely Google should be able to purchase that for much lower prices if Google negociates deals for several Petabytes of 3G data bandwidth with the carriers. Thus giving away 100MB of bandwidth per unlocked Android user per month, would most likely cost a lot less than $1 per month to Google, thus that would be something Google should be able to give to unlocked Android users for free. But even if carriers would charge Google as much as $10 per GB for 3G data bandwidth, I believe that my speculation on the Google SIM card could still make a lot of sense.

Because Google would negociate for 3G data bandwidth with all carriers in every country. I believe that it should be possible for users to seamlessly and freely roam for data usage in other countries. That is, as long as they do use a Google SIM card for unlocked Android phones.

Google Phone Nexus One
Source for picture: http://www.engadget.com/

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The Google Phone, guessing on the price and a possible picture

Posted by Charbax – December 13, 2009

This may be a picture of the Google Phone:

Google Phone Nexus One

From rumors on Techcrunch, this may be a pre-paid only $100 device, for WiFi and pre-paid 3G Voice over IP usage such as on Google Voice. Exactly the revolutionary business model that I have been talking about for a while. My guess on the Google Phone price, or what I think it should cost is following:

$100 for the 3.7" high density WVGA Google Phone Nexus One
$150 for the 4.8" medium density Google Tablet Nexus XL

All should come based on ARM Cortex A8 processors, probably OLED capacitative on Nexus One and LCD resistive on the Nexus XL. My suggestion is basically that the Nexus XL may be similar to my favorite consumer electronics device the Archos 5 Internet Tablet which I talk about in countless videos: http://armdevices.net/?s=archos and on my other site: http://archosfans.com

The most important factor here would be if the rumors are true and if my guessing is right, that the Google Phone and Tablet will be the first pre-paid Android phone and tablet. Affordable, my guessing also may even make it so that Google may not only sell it through all retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Wal Mart, Media Markt, Aldi and such, but that one may even be able to buy it on google's own website and based on how active one has been on Google over the past few years, Google may even subsidize the purchase price of the phone or tablet. That is, cause Google can know it will more likely make more money on mobile ads from users who use Google services a lot. This way, look forward to Google Phone at $50, Google Tablet for $100 and even the Google Laptop/Tablet/E-reader at $150.

Some times, I think that it does take a big giant technology company like Google to really invest not only in the platform, not only in software, but also dedicate teams of hardware engineers into actually releasing own branded hardware on the market and push the boundaries in terms of business models to apply to the distribution of such technology. To push things forward faster, Google needs to make hardware.

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Chrome OS is better

Posted by Charbax – November 19, 2009

Chrome OS Laptops will cost 50 dollars and run 20 hours on a battery, and come with free unlimited 3G internet data connectivity.

Chrome OS is not going to be companion to Windows/Mac, Chrome OS is destroying Microsoft/Apple and even Intel.

You will be able to run powerful and free image and video editing software using Native code and hardware accelerations functions of Chrome OS and HTML5.

Chrome OS works offline just as well as any other laptop. Want to write emails while offline and auto-send them when you find a web connection? That is possible. Want to write documents offline and sync them when you find a WiFi? That is possible. Want to watch video while offline? Just connect USB storage and that is possible. I am sure Chrome OS laptops will even come with extra storage and hard drive compartments built-in if you really want to carry a lot of stored data to do a lot of things offline. Otherwise, by that time, there will be Google Drive to store a TB of your personal files for less than 50 dollars per year, thus only slightly more expensive than buying a TB hard drive. And if you will want to store divx or mp3 files on your Google Drive that other users have stored on Google Drive already, you won’t have to actually upload it, a quick scan and a copy is on your Google Drive and storage costs will be shared by all the users who will have access to a copy of the file.

Chrome OS works on touch screens, uses whatever hardware you want. Most importantly, with a 50 dollar ARM laptop the experience will be just as good as on a 400 dollar Intel laptop.

ARM laptops will win

Posted by Charbax – August 14, 2009

1. They are much cheaper. Cheapest unlocked 3G-enabled ARM based laptops will be sold at $100 without any carrier contracts needed.

2. ARM Laptops have no screen size limits. Get a 15″ ARM powered laptop for $200 soon.

3. ARM Laptops run 15-20 hours on a small 3-cell battery at the minimum.

4. ARM Laptops are lighter, they don’t get hot like Intel based laptops.

5. Chrome OS (= Android 2.0) runs on ARM Laptops better than on Intel.

6. ARM Laptops can come with 500GB hard drives for just a $80 extra fee to pay for the hard drive. They can even all come with an empty 2.5″ sata hard drive slot to add any hard drive available on the market to add storage to it.

7. ARM Laptops have instant on ability, applications run faster and all load instantly.

8. Full HTML5 enabled browser runs on ARM Laptops with an unlimited amount of tabs with as little as only 256mb RAM required thus lowering the price.

OLPC is a success

Posted by Charbax – July 26, 2009

Thanks to OLPC, we have soon 50 million netbooks in rich countries. Intel and Microsoft’s profit margins per laptop are shrinking rapidly.

Thanks to OLPC, children have soon millions of cheap lower power laptops in poor countries.

Thanks to OLPC, the PC/Laptop industry’s interpretation of Moore’s law has totally been reshaped, every 18month now PC/laptops will be half the price instead of 2x more powerful and with 2x more bloatware.

Sure, I would have been happier, and so would most other Linux geeks if OLPC had shipped 100 million laptops to poor children by now, and not just 1 million units. Reason for that not happening yet in multi-hundred million scales though are several:

1. Intel will do anything it can not to be killed off by a non-profit laptop technology revolution. Including abusing of monopolistic situations and corrupting politicians.

2. AMD is not much interested in helping OLPC succeed in lowering the cost of laptops and PCs. Lower cost also means less profits and margins for AMD, and AMD has enough problems with profits and margins as it is.

Looking forward, to reach those 100 million poor children sooner rather than later:

1. OLPC needs to find an alternative to AMD as soon as possible. VIA is planned for XO-1.5 which could hopefully ship a few millions of units in a few months time, if VIA supports this move of OLPC creating a cheaper and lower power market using their processor. XO-1.5 could reach the $150 pricepoint soon and enable dozens of commercial netbooks using the VIA processor and also copying on the way OLPC is using the VIA processor.

2. OLPC needs to implement the worlds best ARM processor based laptops for XO-2 working with Google to implement the so called Chrome OS on those. Cloud computing can work also for places without stable internet access, HTML5 supports offline web apps and offline databases. OLPC needs to push Google to make it work on WiFi Mesh networks as well. XO-2 can start at $100 when released and reach the $50 price point, when manufactured using any of half a dozen ARM processor companies chips. All of TI, Qualcomm, Marvell, Freescale, Nvidia and Samsung, all those ARM processors should fit in the XO-2 design. Competition will bring the prices down faster.

Also, to reach those 100 million children, OLPC needs to have more than just a couple dozen engineers working on the whole optimizations of hardware and software for the project.

What OLPC managed to build in XO1 and XO-1.5 with 30 employees and the little budget that they could get is absolutely amazing.

But what OLPC probably needs for XO-2 to absolutely work and sell laptops soon at $50 to revolutionize education worldwide, is thousands of engineers and the support from Barack Obama and the European Union.

So OLPC’s political agenda definitely needs to be more targeted towards the politics of education and aid of the USA and Europe and with much more ambition to make things happen in huge scale as quickly as possible.

Chrome OS = Android 2.0

Posted by Charbax – July 16, 2009

I would link to the Masterful John C Dvorak for some very clever guessing: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-googles-new-os-more-than-just-a-bluff?siteid=

I do not believe John C Dvorak is 100% right in his funny column, though I do believe he is right when he says that this is all a super clever public relations trick put on by Google and that all of it is just the Google OS coming up. John C Dvorak is mostly right about most things that he says.

I believe it will be released open sourced in a couple of months, with the first ARM Cortex A8 and Tegra based laptops.

Android 2.0 and Chrome OS is the same thing. It doesn’t matter what Google says and what bloggers think. There is only one way Google is working towards:

- Making full Chrome browser work on ARM embedded laptops even better than on x86 based laptops.

Now, you might know me as the contiunous x86 basher, I kind of am. But what I believe Google wants is more competition in both hardware and software space for PCs and laptops. This is what Google OS is all about.

The reasons Google might caution Google OS on ARM fans to wait for are a few technological breakthroughs which Google might need before the worldwide availability of perfect $100 Google laptops can happen:

1. ARM Cortex A8 needs to be fast enough for a full browser. If it’s not, then Google needs to wait for broad availability of ARM Cortex A9 starting early next year.

2. Google and the whole ARM community needs to optimize browsers, flash, HTML5 features on DSP and GPU cores of laptops, especially ARM laptops, so that $100 laptops can run a FULL browser and cloud computing experience. Nvidia, Qualcomm, Freescale, Texas Instruments were promising hardware acceleration for the browser, Flash and HTML5 at Computex, but they didn’t really show it yet. I believe they can make it work as a 2003 X86 based browser (something like a 512MB RAM or less system), though that may not be enough for the full mass market to adopt the first version, thus Google might prefer to wait for full launch for it to work better than 2009 x86 browsers.

3. Google wants better connectivity. Google is strongly hoping to start implementing White Spaces worldwide as soon as possible, this will enable free unlimited wireless Internet for all (and destroy all ISPs and telcos in the process). Optimized Connected standby features for ARM devices might only really start working perfectly early next year. First generation ARM Google OS laptops might not have LED lights that turn on instantly on incoming emails, feeds, pings, IMs, VOIP calls and other such crucial presence and social networking web apps which Google needs on the Google laptops for it to really feel like revolutionary products compared to the established systems.

4. Political aspects of this might start being put into places early next year as well such as real competition on HSDPA connectivity, maximum prices of $20 per month pre-paid data-only plans for most of the world and no more contract-plans and other voice and SMS plans forced onto consumers by monopolistic telcos. Also political decision on net neutrality, white spaces, sustainable energy consumption of consumer electronics and servers and crucial for Google to succeed on this global cloud computing plan.

I see it as inevitable, that Google will create Google OS, a super tiny embedded Linux open source OS less than 50 Megabytes for the whole highly optimized OS, and that in a couple of months we will start seeing it ship on $150 ARM based laptops with all types of screen sizes (large screens and keyboards aren’t much more expensive than small ones, consider $50 upgrade for 15″ and full keyboard instead of 10″ and tiny netbook keyboard).

Those $150 Google laptops will be running ARM chips by half a dozen competing ARM processor manufacturers and manufactured by all the major laptop manufacturers in the world. Effectively putting out of business all of Microsoft, Intel and Apple. Together with most of Silicon Valley. That is for the better. For the first time billions more people will have access to this technology very quickly and we will all for the first time really find amazing new ways to use the technology.

As for technical details on Native versus Cloud apps. I believe natively you will have everything needed for a full computing experience. Basically it’s not just the browser, it’s not just flash support, it’s not just HTML5 including native code plugins for the browser and 3D in the browser, it’s like providing you the hypervisors, user interface APIs, clever caching and seamless interface optimizations, which will enable you to not only have a full 2009 x86 style computing experience, it will plug you into the full cloud, in fact giving you infinately more computing power for all the most processor intensive tasks that the biggest professionals would want to use. You can definitely encode videos using grid server encoding, I have been doing that for over 2 years for all my HD video encoding needs, just have a fast enough upload to upload your source files from your camcorders. Google Gears type database and web application caching not only lets you do things while offline, it can turn all web applications into feeling exactly like native applications, they respond instantly without having to wait for any online service to stream the user interfaces back at you. The user interfaces will be locally cached on the machine, only processed data is streamed from the cloud, and clever pre-loading algorithms mostly will not make you feel any difference than processing everything using a local X86 processor. In fact, things will feel much faster cause you will be able to have the power of an unlimited amount of cloud servers to render, process and encode any of your media intensive tasks.

Google OS will take over the world, also for Corporate types

Posted by Charbax – July 15, 2009

Ryanair and Easyjet are full of Corporate World types, who just enjoy that they can save money on flight tickets. Sales of Business class tickets on any airline company are tanking. Saving money and getting smaller, better, cheaper laptops is absolutely a universal thing, not only for the mass market, also for corporate types.

You will get £100 Google OS Laptops, running 15-20 hours on a 3-cell battery, fully sunlight readable with the Pixel Qi screen, highly optimized with built-in HSDPA always-on connectivity, connected standby features (rings or blinks an alert light from full standby on incoming emails or calendar alerts), all Google OS laptops will be based on ARM Processors.

Basically Chrome OS = Android 2.0 optimized for Laptops. It will absolutely take over the world, as the absolute best OS for ARM Laptops, instantly putting Microsoft, Apple and Intel out of business.

I posted this as a comment on http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/15/google_chrome_os/comments/